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Glastonbury & Street Green Party

Archive for Jon Cousins

Green World Obituary: Denise Michell 1952-2020

Councillor Jon Cousins, Green Mayor of Glastonbury, pays tribute to Denise Michell, Archdruidess, Elder Ovate and Bard, ‘Fairy Queen’, and twice Green Mayor of Glastonbury.

First published in ‘Green World’ magazine – Wednesday, 24th June 2020.


Denise Michell 11th August 1952 – 22nd June 2020

Denise Michell (née Price) was born on 11th August 1952, and spent her early years in Barkingside, Redbridge.

She came to live in Glastonbury in 1997 and was an Archdruidess of the Glastonbury Order of Druids from 1998 to 2007 – subsequently becoming a founding member, Elder Ovate and Bard of the Gorsedh Ynys Witrin, Glastonbury’s Bardic College.

In April 2007, Denise married the celebrated author John Michell (1933–2009) at a ceremony held in Glastonbury’s St Benedict’s Church. It was a long courtship – they had first met 34 years earlier, when she was 21 and he was 40.

Partly in response to the government’s proposal that Hinkley Point C in Somerset would be one of the eight newly commissioned Nuclear Power Stations, Denise joined Glastonbury’s Green Party branch in 2010, and became an active campaigner encouraging local people to register to vote.

As Archdruidess, her profile helped to build support, and the local branch experienced a ‘Green Surge’ in 2010/11, which resulted in four Greens being elected to Glastonbury Town Council in May 2011 – Denise being one of the ‘Green Four’.

During their first term, Glastonbury’s Green Councillors implemented a Glastonbury ‘Green’ Charter for the Environment, installed solar panels onto the roof of the Town Hall, declared Glastonbury a Frack Free Council, and resolved to oppose the building of Hinkley C Nuclear Power Station.

Denise as Mayor Glastonbury (2nd left) with, L-R: Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, Molly Scott Cato, Cllrs Jon Cousins and Emma George (second and third Green Mayors of Glastonbury respectively).

As Glastonbury’s Green surge continued, reflected by the national surge in membership from late 2014 onwards (turning Greens into the third largest party in England and Wales), Denise was re-elected in 2015 to become the 316th (and first ‘Green’) Worshipful Mayor of Glastonbury. Her first Mayoral resolution was to join the international anti-nuclear movement ‘Mayors For Peace’, a membership that all succeeding Mayors of Glastonbury have maintained.

As a councillor, Denise was a champion of Glastonbury’s ‘Beltane’ May Day festivities and the town’s annual Frost Fayre. Indeed, when she was first elected, she discovered that the 2011 Frost Fayre was in danger of being cancelled – and decided to take on the coordination of the event, helping to turn the Frost Fayre into a huge success, which has gone from strength to strength – so well attended and popular in 2019 that hundreds of would-be visitors were not even able to enter the town.

In their second term, Glastonbury Greens expanded to seven elected councillors, and took minority control of the town council. During this time, they banned the use of glyphosate on all public land – moving to a non-toxic weed control system, became the first council in Somerset to be ‘single-use plastic free’, and the first to declare a Climate Emergency – pledging to make council operations carbon-neutral by 2030.

In 2019, being returned as a town councillor for a third term (as part of nine Green town councillors – a majority!), Denise joined the small company of people who have been twice elected Mayor of Glastonbury.

During her second Mayoralty, she oversaw Glastonbury becoming the second ‘Earth Protector Town’ in the World – calling for an Amendment to The Rome Statute to include a Law against Ecocide.

When asked recently what it was like to be a councillor, Denise replied: “Working within the community I listen closely to what people would like to see happen in our town now and in the future, and – as a councillor – I can help bring change for the benefit of everyone in our community.”

Glastonbury’s ‘Green Four’ with Caroline Lucas at Hinkley Point in 2012 L-R: Jon Cousins, Caroline Lucas, Alyson Black, Denise, and Ian Forster.

Denise passed away in the early hours of Monday 22nd June 2020. News of her death was announced by her children Zig, Zoe, Rowan and Leah on social media: “It is with broken hearts that we must share with you that our mum has completed her journey here on Earth and is now on her way to join the ancestors in the stars. Thank you to each and every one of you who has been a part of our mum’s life adventures. We ask that you light a candle, say a prayer and send her on her way with love. Love and light. May there be peace in the sacred grove.”

Personally, I am devastated by the passing of my dear friend. Denny was an incredible person, who loved Glastonbury to the core of her being and did so much for our community. She will be greatly missed. On behalf of Glastonbury Council and the local Green Party, I send my deepest condolences to her family.


Click here to view the obituary in ‘Green World’.

A Second Climate Emergency People’s Assembly

11 am to 3:30 pm on Saturday, 25th January at Glastonbury Town Hall.

Glastonbury Town Council’s Climate Emergency Working Group will hold a second People’s Assembly in the Town Hall.  This is an opportunity for residents to collectively discuss the urgent situation created by climate change and ecological destruction and make decisions, so that all voices are heard and equally valued.

The Main Hall will be open from 11 am to 3:30 pm and will accommodate more people than the October People’s Assembly, when the small hall was filled to capacity. Presentations will take place between 11 am and 12 noon. The Assembly is scheduled from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm.

Presentations – 11 am to 12 noon:

  • Robert Macbeth (Glastonbury Growers Group)
  • Anna Francis (Frome Resilience Officer)
  • Sonya Bedford (Avalon Community Energy)
  • Jon Cousins (Green Deputy Mayor, Town and District Councillor)

People’s Assembly – 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm:

The next step toward building a resilient community.

Following our successful People’s Assembly in October, we will continue the discussion on these topics: Transport, Food, and the Local Environment. The Assembly will be facilitated by Extinction Rebellion’s Indra Donfrancesco.

This is an on-going process. In the short-term we need to have local strategies and actions for living with a reduced environmental impact. In the longer term we may even find ourselves having to provide basic services from our own community resources. Future assemblies will discuss other areas that need addressing: e.g. energy, health care, waste-disposal, education.

Please come to ensure your voice is heard!

Glastonbury Climate Emergency Day!

Glastonbury’s Green Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, will compère this special Climate Emergency Day event, which focuses on “Lifestyle Choices and Sustainable Future for Our Community”; open from 10 am until 4 pm on Saturday, 21st September 2019, at Glastonbury Town Hall.

Featuring key-note speaker Anita Van Rossum of Stop Ecocide, giving a talk on the urgent importance of ecocide being recognised as a crime and the Earth Protector Town initiative.

“We are facing an emergency and communities countrywide are trying to find ways to lessen its impact”.

This is a free event is organised by Glastonbury Town Council, Somerset Waste Partnership, local community food growers, Extinction Rebellion, Plastic Free Glastonbury, Friends of the Earth, and Earth Protectors.

There will be guest speakers, films, and stalls with information and advice on sourcing local food produce and growing your own; switching to renewable energy; how to reduce consumption; reducing plastic use; recycling; composting; and gardening for wildlife.

For more information please click HERE.

Green Priorities for Glastonbury in the Town and District elections!

Green Candidates Announced for Town & District Elections



Green View No.1 ‘Funeral For The Planet’…?

 

Green Councillors In The News!

PRESS RELEASE: Glastonbury Declares Climate Emergency.

by Dr Richard Tabor.

Published in the Central Somerset Gazette on Thursday, 28th February 2019.

In a rare moment of consensus ten of eleven Glastonbury Town Council members attending a meeting depleted by illness on Tuesday 12th February voted to pass a motion declaring a Climate Emergency put forward by two former mayors. Only Conservative representative and County Councillor Terry Napper abstained as other members from all parties voted in favour.

Green Party councillor Jon Cousins spoke to the motion which was supported by his colleague, Emma George. Citing the dire consequences of a 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming’s 2018 special report on Climate Change the council’s ambitious Climate Emergency committed Glastonbury to:

“1) Continue to show foresight and leadership when it comes to addressing the issue of Climate Change, having adopted an Environmental Charter, opposed fracking in the Mendips and throughout the UK, installed solar panels on the Town Hall roof, and banned single use plastics;
2) pledge to make the operation of Glastonbury Town Council carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.”

After reading out the motion Councillor Cousins spoke of the “unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”, reminding his colleagues that Climate Change is a serious issue effecting everyone. He noted that Town Councillors as representatives of the community needed to take action because seemingly insignificant every-day actions, such as discarding a plastic bag, can have far reaching consequences as demonstrated by the vast amount of plastic waste floating in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

He went on to say that the decisions we make now as individuals, as communities and as a nation will be judged by our children and grandchildren who will have to deal with the consequences. In calling for the motion to be adopted he concluded that the council had a duty to future generations to be on the ‘right side of history’. He received eloquent support from Councillor Emma George who explained that other Councils across the UK had already passed similar motions and had pledged to make their towns carbon neutral by 2030. Only Councillor Napper was unwilling to support the motion as he felt that the word ‘pledge’ was too strong. The passing of the vote was received with huge cheer from an uncharacteristically full public gallery.

Glastonbury Town Council declares ‘Climate Emergency’

Glastonbury’s Green Councillors are absolutely delighted that – this evening – Glastonbury Town Council declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ and pledged to make the operation of Council carbon neutral by 2030; with cross-party support for the Climate Emergency Motion proposed and seconded by Green Councillors Lindsay MacDougall and Jon Cousins.

Climate Emergency Motion:
In light of the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming’s 2018 special report on Climate Change – warning of the dire consequences of a 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures, and highlighting the need for rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society – this Council declares a ‘Climate Emergency’ and will:
1) continue to show foresight and leadership when it comes to addressing the issue of Climate Change, having adopted an Environmental Charter, opposed fracking in the Mendips and throughout the UK, installed solar panels on the Town Hall roof, and banned single use plastics;
2) pledge to make the operation of Glastonbury Town Council carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.

Single-Use Plastic Free Glastonbury?

David Attenborough: “Unless the flow of plastics and industrial pollution into the ocean is reduced, marine life will be poisoned by them for many centuries to come.”

GSGP are very pleased to announce that on Tuesday, 14th November 2017, the following motion – proposed by Green Mayor Emma George and seconded by former Green Mayor Jon Cousins – was passed… although not after some heated discussion across the Council Table about the ‘relevance’ of the subject matter:

That this Council aims to become a ‘single-use plastic free’ council by phasing out the use of unnecessary and unrecyclable single-use plastic (SUP) products such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws in all council activities by April 2018, and to encourage our facilities’ users and local businesses to do the same by championing alternatives.”

As far as we are aware, Glastonbury is the first Council in Somerset to take this stand.

Glastonbury elects 3rd Green Mayor!

On Tuesday, 9th May 2017, Cllr. Emma George became the 318th – and third successive Green – Mayor of Glastonbury!

Out-going Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, proposed his Deputy for the position as the final motion of his Mayoralty, telling the assembled Councillors and members of the public:  “It is with great pleasure that I propose Cllr Emma George for election to the role of Mayor of Glastonbury.  I feel that the election of the current Deputy Mayor to the highest office is something that is both seemly and worthy.”

Out-going Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, proposes Cllr. Emma George as his successor.  photo: Claire Herbaux, Central Somerset Gazette.

Seemly because as Deputy Emma has been a great support to me in my year of office.  Joining me on many Civic Occasions, and representing Glaston admirably and capably when I could not.”

Worthy because time and again she has show real leadership and professionalism with regard to the Council’s business.”

May I remind Councillors of how she negotiated favourably with Weedingtech; has worked diligently on helping to develop the Youth Council; has worked closely with the Police and One Team to help address anti-social behaviour in the town; has chaired with great skill the Town Centre Working Group, and supported the various projects and campaigns that have evolved from this forum.”

Her contribution to the Council’s Staffing Committee and as Chair of the Communications Committee reflecting the expertise and experience in these related industries.”

Finally, I would like to say that the role of Mayor demands that we rise above the petty divisions of politics to represent the whole community; to truly encapsulate the role of First Citizen.”

This is something that Emma has fully achieved in her capacity as Deputy Mayor.  And so, without further ado – I recommend that this Council elects Cllr Emma George as the 318th Mayor of Glastonbury.”

Emma’s nomination was seconded by Conservative Councillor Steve Henderson.  There were no other nominations, and Emma was elected Mayor by a unanimous vote.

The new Mayor of Glastonbury reads the ‘Declaration of Acceptance of Office’. photo: Claire Herbaux, Central Somerset Gazette.

In her acceptance speech, she said: “I will make sure to do my best to represent you all.  Jon is a hard act to follow. He has been an absolute pleasure to work with.”

I know I am heading into this year with great people around me.”

A first for Glastonbury!
Emma’s first act as Mayor was to preside over the election of Liberal Democrats Councillor Denise Abbot as Deputy Mayor; a first for Glastonbury – as the positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor have never been held by two women during one Mayoralty before!

Cllrs. Emma George and Denise Abbott enthroned as Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Glastonbury. The first time that two women have sat at the top of table in the Council Chamber! photo: Claire Herbaux, Central Somerset Gazette.

As the third Green Mayor of Glastonbury, Emma follows Cllrs. Jon Cousins (2016-17) and Denise Michell (2015-16); a major achievement for the Green Party’s members and supporters in the South West.